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Healing into Life and Death Paperback – February 1, 1989

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

While working with the terminally ill, Levine, director of the Hanuman Foundation's Dying Project, discovered an interesting phenomenon. In preparing for death, many were being healed. Levine also noticed that those who became physically well were often in better health than they had been before. Further study lead him to conclude that the physical healing was a by-product of a new balance of mind and heart. Vivid case histories of patients are used to illustrate how individuals learned to let go, become open to life, and stop struggling against illness, pain, and death. Levine discusses meditation and how to use it to "heal into life and death." This approach is certainly not for everyone, but for many terminally ill patients and their families it may offer new hope and peace. Mary L. Kirk, Unv. of North Carolina at Wilmington Lib.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"His work is  magic." -- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

"In recent  years, Stephen and Ondrea Levine have shown us new  possibilities in working with the seriously ill.  In this heartfelt new book he broadens the domain  of his inquiry and concern and fees us to heal by  inviting us courageously look at what is." --  Ram Dass.

"Stephen Levine's writings, work  and presence have been a shining light to me and  thousands of others as he has pioneered new ways of  looking at life and the power that the healing of  the mind and heart presents." -- Gerald  Jampolsky, M.D., Founder and Consultant of the Center  for Attitudinal Healing, Tiburon, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reissue edition (February 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385262191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385262194
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's no self-help baloney or New Age airheadedness in this book. In it you'll find the deeply moving words of a man who really knows something about extreme pain and suffering and what you can do to cope with them.
Levine has the ability to put into words concepts that are very hard to get at. If you've been put off by people teaching meditation, or if other past experience has made you think you simply can't meditate, you may find, as I did, that this book opens up a new kind of meditation that really can help you find peace and inner healing.
It also helps you think about illness and suffering in new ways, very different from those you'll find in most self-help books. Levine moves you away from the idea of "beating illness" which can become intensely self-destructive if you are not experiencing the usual New Age Book miracle cure. He shows you how much anger you feel towards yourself when you are in pain, and how this self-directed anger can intensify your pain. Finally he shows you how to "make room" around your pain and let it float, with a series of directed meditations that I have found to be extremely helpful.
The techniques in this book are particularly good for people who are in physical pain or who are dealing with incurable illness, though they also work well for people dealing with emotional crises.
This is such a useful book, I'd say, don't wait until you are in the sort of crisis where you need the techniques it teaches. Every one of us will face pain and death at some point, and this book gives you practical, down-to-earth tools for living with them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just mailed a copy of this book to a friend who is dealing with headaches caused by pressure on the brain - she isn't dying, but the pain is constant, surgery a long way away, and medication doesn't help.
Levine's book offers a refreshing way of dealing with pain caused by a variety of diseases - from cancer to the unknown. Often we turn against ourselves. We judge how well we do with 'fighting' pain or 'beating' death or even 'praying for someone to heal' by the outcome. If we fought hard enough, or bargained well enough, our prayers were answered. If we 'gave up,' that was failure. Levine's approach is different, freeing. Rather than fighting the pain, we recognize it as part of us and go with it, often learning surprising things.
Levine offers guided meditations, something I'm not particularly fond of, but for those who like to do these, these look like they would be good for people to do with an ailing family member.
He offers stories of the ways people have successfully dealt with their pain (physical and emotional). One that stands out is of a woman who had lead a fairly self-centered, bitter life (before the pain!). In the hospital, she was so hard to get along with that nurses were slow to answer her ring. She was sharp and mean-spirited to her own family, and eventually they stopped visiting her.
Her pain became so great that, quite uncharacteristically, she began envisioning other people who might have experienced the pain. The idea that her pain wasn't just hers - that it wasn't wasn't a punishment exclusively for her, but something that many others have had somehow opened her heart, and she did not die alone. This isn't written in a sappy manner - there are happy and sad endings in the book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is very moving. At least it is moving me to change my life, to be much more mindful of the present, of my body, of my emotions, of the whole package that makes up me. I think it would be a help to anyone facing serious injury, loss, or illness, or anyone who might in the future. And who does that not include?
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Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic. Stephen Levine is an amazingly gifted writer. Everything he writes has the flavor of poetry. His ability to express things which come very close, by their very nature, to being inexpressible is stunning. Like I said, his writing has the flavor of poetry. But GOOD poetry. Like Rumi. As one reviewer said, this is NOT a "new agey" book. I totally agree with that. This is a book about the Truth. Does it get "touchy-feely" at times? Yeah, but those moments are more than balanced by the overwhelming feeling that "this guy knows what he's talking about!". He's been "in the trenches" and LIVED this stuff. It's not theory to him.... it's life.
You may resonate more powerfully with this book if you have even a passing familiarity with Zen/Buddhist philosophy. But it is certainly not a prerequisite. This is a book for everyone. "Sick" or "well", "happy" or "depressed", "contented" or "fed up". It speaks to the HUMAN condition in all it's manifestations. Almost anyone would classify this book as being a "spiritually" oriented book but it is so grounded in the "suchness" (as Stephen puts it) of everyday life that it comes closer to being a nitty gritty Ultimate Guide to Living A Human Life than it does any airy, ungrounded "spiritual" read.
I'm not a big fan of guided meditations either. And I've found that all "techniques" will fail you eventually if you see them as an end in themselves. But Stephen does an EXCELLENT job of not just suggesting some things to try but explaining WHY YOU ARE DOING THEM! You understand why he is telling you to "breathe with a soft belly"... he doesn't just hit you over the head with.... "Enlightenment in 30 days through the use of the amazing Soft Belly technique" which is the take of so many books.
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